The 10 Best Time Clocks
This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in December of 2016. Your employees work hard on your behalf and are critical to your company's profitability, so make sure you reward them fully for every hour they spend on the job. These time clocks allow you to keep track of your workforce, and are available with advanced features, such as biometric sensors and internet access. We've ranked them here by their accuracy, connectivity, and security. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best time clock on Amazon.
September 11, 2020:
A few of the models from our previous ranking have seen upgrades, like the Lathem PC700, which has gained wireless connectivity to make it easier for employers to set up their punch station anywhere they like, without having to either choose from among a few locations with Ethernet access or to run a significant amount of cable around the workplace. That kind of feature can make a big difference, especially if your punch clock runs the risk of becoming a choke point at the beginning of the day and cutting into your workers' morning productivity. A model like the UAttend CB6000 Management, for all its modern convenience, lacks this Wi-fi connectivity, so keep an eye out for that.
Another thing to look out for is whether a given piece of hardware will only be of use to you if you also invest in the company's software. For the record, many of these programs sync with the cloud and provide outstanding metrics that can help with everything from tax preparation to identifying problem employees. Many UAttend models require software subscriptions, as does the Lathem model mentioned above. You can easily avoid these subscription-based punch clocks by going with something decidedly more basic, like the Allied Time AT-4500.
March 20, 2019:
Issues with noise and time accuracy sent the Acroprint 150 packing, which isn't such a bad thing when you behold just how old-fashioned it is. The last person to buy one was probably Guillermo del Toro to use on the set of The Shape of Water. The Natamo model suffered from availability issues, which also caused it to be retired in favor of other options. The Allied Time AT-4500 was something of a sleeper hit on our previous list, and ultimately we decided that the cost of the replacement cards wasn't enough of a justification to hold it from its deserved spot, especially given its superb performance.
Why Use A Time Clock At Your Office
But if your workforce gets above a certain size, you’re going to want a little help keeping track of hours.
In a perfect world, you’d be able to completely trust your employees. They would show up on time, put in a fair amount of work, and leave when their shift ended. You’d be able to pay them fairly for their labor according to an agreed upon wage for an agreed upon amount of time. There’d be no disputes, no second guessing, and no extra work revolving around payroll.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in that perfect world. That doesn’t mean that all of your employees are out to gouge you, to maximize their financial return on a minimal effort with as little regard for your business as you can imagine. It just means that life sometimes gets in the way. A baby gets sick, a car won’t start, or an alarm simply doesn’t go off, and there’s no way for them to get to work on time. If you have a small staff of hourly employees, keeping track of this kind of discrepancy might not prove too difficult. But if your workforce gets above a certain size, you’re going to want a little help keeping track of hours. This is where a good time clock comes in.
A time clock, sometimes also referred to as a punch clock, is a device that lets your employees record their time of entry and departure in a way that will allow you to accurately track their time at work and to pay them accordingly. When they clock in, a time stamp is added to their record, and when they clock out, another stamp marks their departure. All you have to do is pay them their hourly wage for the total time in between those numbers.
Which Time Clock Is Right For Your Space?
Finding the right time clock for your space will have a lot to do with the size and reliability of your workforce. There are a few other considerations, to be sure, but these two are, by far, the most important.
With regards to size, a small outfit might do fine working with a more old-fashioned time clock that uses physical time cards with each employee’s name on them. When employees get to work, they grab their card from a holder and slip it into the time clock, which punches a time stamp into place. At the end of the pay period, it will be up to you or another employee to manually calculate all the data recorded on each card, and to submit the total hours and minutes for each employee to payroll. These devices are among the most reliable, but once your workforce gets large enough, all that work at the end of each pay period may become overwhelming.
There are a few other considerations, to be sure, but these two are, by far, the most important.
For larger employee pools, it’s smart to employ a digital time clock. These keep track of your employees’ comings and goings on an internal storage device that should regularly and easily sync with a designated computer or online software suite, allowing you to back up that information and instantly import it into payroll software. Some of these units will also employ physical punch cards as a real-world backup system, but most rely on things like RF key fobs or swipe cards that the employees always carry. The only real downside to these is that you’re relying on your workers not to lose their cards or fobs, and that the machines might not work when the power is out, necessitating the purchase of a battery backup system.
One of the vulnerabilities of any traditional time clock is fraud, sometimes referred to as time theft. It becomes rather easy for one employee to punch in for another, especially if that employee is running late, or one chooses to cover for another. Not only might this result in you paying an employee for time they didn’t actually spend at work, it also leaves you open to liability. If, for example, something goes wrong at work and a customer or employee gets hurt, you may have a lawsuit in the air. Not having an accurate accounting of who was actually at work at the time of the incident can result in increased damages against your business.
Key fobs and swipe cards are one way to guard against such vulnerabilities, but they can still be shared among employees. That’s why some models rely on biometric scanners to identify their employees as they punch in. Unless one employee cuts off his thumb and shares it with another (which probably wouldn’t work anyway), there’s a good chance this kind of time clock will be impervious to fraud.
Other Ways To Increase Office Efficiency
Time clocks are a reliable way to increase efficiency and precision in the office. They aren’t the only means of doing so, however, as there are plenty of excellent strategies and products that can increase office efficiency.
For starters, with regard to the time clock, make sure you place it in a visible location. This will help cut down on incidences of fraud, and it will help remind employees to punch in, as forgetfulness in this area can create a lot of extra work for management.
Time clocks are a reliable way to increase efficiency and precision in the office.
Among the devices that can increase efficiency around the office, an all-in-one printer can be a big help. These put your printing, copying, scanning, and even faxing capabilities in one easy-to-use unit. If you don’t need to print a lot of image-heavy documents, and you want your text to print as quickly and sharply as possible, you should look into a laser model.
A lot of productivity is lost when employees can’t be regularly caffeinated, or when one employee spends a little too much time on the clock making a fresh pot in the break room. Investing in a Keurig, or a similar type of single-serve coffee maker is a great way around this. It will allow everyone to get a quick cup of coffee whenever they need it, and it will also allow everyone to enjoy their own favorite flavors without ruining a pot for everyone else.
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